Newcastle Jets (9th) v Adelaide United (3rd)
The inaugural winners of the FFA Cup, Adelaide United, will hope that the champagne has long been flushed out of their collective systems when they meet lowly Newcastle. The Jets have struggled for takeoff without a win on the board, one third of the season in. They did though look a more cohesive unit last time out, despite going down 2-0 to league leaders Perth Glory. In team news, captain Kew Jaliens sits out 3 games after a crude challenge on Scott Jamieson. After a short turnaround, Adelaide gaffer Josep Gombau is expected to rest a few bodies with Djite and Carrusca (among others) whispered as likely candidates to sit this one out.
Nick’s prediction: Newcastle Jets 1-1 Adelaide United
Melbourne City (7th) v Melbourne Victory (2nd)
City will be out for revenge after the 5-2 mauling at the hands of their crosstown rivals, almost 2 months ago. On that evening, Melbourne City took the lead twice before Berisha struck a hat-trick as the Victory powered away after the break. The home side at least go into this derby in winning form, defeating the Roar 1-0 almost a fortnight ago. Victory continue to score goals for fun, scoring 3 in their third consecutive outing. This time though, Archie Thompson’s hat-trick was only good enough for a point as Sydney FC matched Victory’s efficiency in front of goal. It’s a case of one import in, one import out for Melbourne City as Duff sits out with a calf injury while Robert Koren is expected to get his first taste of A-League action. Victory welcome back Guy Finkler and Scott Galloway. I expect City to pose a sterner test this time round but Victory just have too many guns to keep at bay.
Nick’s prediction: Melbourne City 1-3 Melbourne Victory
Perth Glory (1st) v Central Coast Mariners (8th)
It all seems to be unraveling a bit for the Glory following a limp defeat in the FFA Cup final, in midweek, while a cloud hangs over the club after possible salary cap breaches in recent seasons. Injuries and suspensions also threaten to derail Perth’s season with both Hersi and Nichols long term casualties while Risdon is suspended for this encounter. Central Coast are on the road again after returning home from Wellington with a hard fought point. It was in fact the Mariners fourth consecutive stalemate away from Gosford. I fancy the visitors to catch Perth on the hop after all that has transpired during the week.
Nick’s prediction: Perth Glory 1-2 Central Coast
Sydney FC (4th) v Wellington Phoenix (5th)
With Perth, Adelaide United, and Melbourne Victory seemingly having a stranglehold on the top 3 spots, this contest can be billed as the ‘best of the rest’ as fourth meets fifth. The Sky Blues aim to halt a baron spell of just one win in their last six outings when they host poor travelers Wellington. The high standard, 3-3 draw at Victory will give Sydney fans hope that they can stay on the coattails of the top three as they look to recapture their good early season form. Wellington’s inability to turn their territorial dominance into 3pts left them frustrated against Central Coast. After scoring a hat-trick in Newcastle the week prior, Nathan Burns looked a shadow of himself in this game when even controlling the ball appeared a laborious task. He will need to be at his best if the Nix are to get anything from this.
Nick’s prediction: Sydney FC 4-1 Wellington Phoenix